My friend, Emily and I, experienced Black Friday in its “purist” form. I had never desired any one thing enough to stand in line in the middle of the night to acquire an item among the crowds. However, Scott and I have been wanting a television for our bedroom and whenever I would ask him what he wanted, the size of the TV kept getting larger. I knew that this meant the price tag would also increase.
Additionally, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, a surprise came in the mail, which was my Christmas present from Scott. He couldn’t wait for me to open it. Can you believe that they were Ugg slippers? I was so excited and have worn them every day since then. Scott and I are not good at the formality of waiting for Christmas. SO. My desire to get a big TV for the bedroom, for Scott’s sake, increased with the Ugg purchase. AND Walmart and Target were advertising insane deals on TVs. In fact, Target was advertising a 46 inch Westinghouse for $300. That is what we settled on. I am so grateful for Emily because Scott went hunting early Thursday morning which meant that a midnight shopping trip was not in the cards for him.
So Emily and I headed out for our adventure about 10 pm on Thanksgiving. We got to Target and the parking lot was reasonably full. About 200 people were already in line, but the crowd seemed civilized. There were barriers along the sidewalk just outside the store to organize the line.
The crowds continued to form. I am guessing that by the time the doors opened at midnight there were about 700 people behind me. We talked to each other, and visited with our new found friends. At about 11 pm, Target employees came out and gave us a map of the store with the location of the “doorbusters.” My 46 inch Westinghouse could be found just left of the entrance in the little girls clothing section. Weird. But okay.
About 11:45, a strange thing happened. People started gathering on the other side of the barrier, just outside the door that would open promptly at midnight. It became clear that this crowd was hoping to storm the doors, in front of all of us us who had been in line for however many hours. Right at midnight the doors opened and the crowd moved quickly toward the front. And the crowd on the other side of the barrier also started moving up. All the folks in line were yelling “GET BACK CHEATERS! GET IN THE BACK OF THE LINE!” Expletives were flying. My heart rate increased. I remember thinking, “this is how violence starts.” I could totally picture the scene turning into a big brawl. But as soon as those in line started getting really mad, we were inside and scrambling for our stuff, the cheaters no longer in the forefront of our minds.
I went for a cart, and Emily went directly to the TVs in the little girl clothing section. This happened without discussion and worked beautifully. Emily put her hand on the last 46 inch Westinghouse at the same time another woman put her hand on it. “THIS IS MINE,” Emily said. The lady realized that Emily was right. At the same time, I was about 5 feet from her, but between she and I were two woman–standing seemingly butt to butt (both of which were fairly ghetto), fighting for other merchandise. I literally pushed through the butts with my cart, to rescue Emily and the TV. We loaded that piece of gold into the cart and then proceeded to shop a little. It was mass chaos. People were fighting for things, grabbing multiple Wiis, Connects, and whatever else. We were checked out and done, with a TV and a pack of gum at 12:05. As we left, we heard people saying, “OH! They got a TV.” That’s right suckers. We did.
Our hearts were both racing. We were absolutely giddy as we left, and we realized that the adrenaline rush was probably worth the late night. So fun. But unless I have another “need” for an electronic, I won’t be going back. I would, however, like someone to create a documentary about the craziness. Because it was one of the most crazy, and American things I have ever experienced.